For many, the only time that they exercise is when they get to the gym. However, just think about this for a minute. If you train 4 times a week, and many don’t even do this much, and for 2 hours at a time, you’ll be training for 8 hours per week. The week will still have 160 hours left! In other words, whilst going to the gym is a great way to incorporate exercise and activity into your life, there’s a lot that can still be done when you’re not there. So here we look at ways of incorporating exercise into your daily life and how you can increase your activity levels and training away from the gym. Who knows, you might even decide to end your membership, but please read on for more before you do!
Firstly, you need to consider your lifestyle as a whole rather than separating it into exercise and diet. These two words can create fear in people, and so look to deal with the issue holistically rather than in segments. You do not have to become an athlete to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle and any changes should be small and gradual otherwise they will feel like a punishment and you are less likely to stick with them. It is all about breaking old bad habits and establishing new and better ones. Once you have formed a healthy habit it’ll be hard not to stick with it, but remember that changing your old ways will be tough too!
You need to always be thinking about moving. Whilst having an exercise period is a great idea, do not be sedentary for the rest of the day. For example, always choose the stairs over a lift or elevator, park further away from the office, get off the bus a stop early, and at lunch maybe go out for a walk. All of these little things will add up and you will notice a difference.
You need to make a commitment to yourself and stick to it. It is easier to stick to a goal when it is S.M.A.R.T. i.e. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. Make a commitment to be active regularly – this may be something as simple as walking the dog twice a day, or going for a 15-minute jog. It will be hard to “find” the time at first, but there are 24 hours in the day, so use them wisely.
If you hate it, you will find excuses to avoid it – that’s simply human nature. So the key is to find something that you enjoy, be it walking, cycling or jogging etc. The best way to find the things you like is to try them all and then pick a favourite. You can try things at the gym, and then maybe do them when you’re not there also. Like swimming, there are many swimming pools to choose from, try searching “private swimming pools near me”.
Scales and measures will put you off. Weighing yourself regularly can document changes, but bodyweight can vary throughout the day. Instead, take selfies at the start of the programme and as you progress – photos will not lie. Measure yourself against how your clothes fit and also keep an honest food and exercise diary so that you can see any slip-ups. They will happen, but just acknowledge them and then move one.
You do not always have to battle alone. Working out with a friend will give you someone to talk to, “compete” with and will mean that you are less likely to miss a session because you’d be letting them down. So whether you find someone to jog with or meet your friends for a walk in the park after work (rather than the pub), doing things together can make things easier.
Not the sort when you’ve just woken up, but before and after activity. Nothing prevents exercise quicker than an injury and so avoiding them is much better than having to deal with them. If you are going to exercise, just as you would at the gym, then make sure you warm up properly and cool down too, incorporating a stretch as needed. Flexibility is a key component to health and so on days when you don’t exercise, at least try and incorporate a stretch into your day.
It only takes a few little things here and there together with a new attitude to start the process of change. Soon you’ll be looking back at your previous sedentary lifestyle and wondering how you managed to sit so still for so long. It’s time to get up and get moving!